Department or Program



Haitian history is marked by what Western scholars often refer to as disaster: moments of irreversible damage conceptualized as an immense loss of life, order, and collective agency. Broadcasted in hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods, Western scholarship has created an image of Haiti as an island in constant disarray, void of leadership, stability, and progress as a reflection of its community’s short fallings. However, this characterization is untrue. Using the frameworks of disaster relief, intervention, and decolonization this thesis argues that colonialism is and has always been the disaster plaguing Haiti, hidden behind smaller events of chaos and justified as divine punishment for the “mistakes” of the Haitian people. The disasters present throughout Haitian history are not divine retribution, accidental, nor without cause: they a are single recurring byproduct of enduring colonial structures created in support of Western imperialism across the Caribbeans. In saying so I mark “disaster” as both a profitable byproduct of the colonial agenda and a specific requirement for its implementation. Analyzing pre-revolution Saint Domingue, the decline of Haitian sovereignty post-independence, Haiti’s history of foreign occupation, and present calls for US intervention after the assassination of President Moïse on July 7 2021, this thesis centers it’s analysis of disaster relief in decolonial theory. In doing so, this thesis offers the annihilation of all colonial structures as vital to the creation of true Haitian sovereignty and progress.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Houchins, Sue

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file

Open Access

Available to all.